THERE is a gang rape ongoing. It is led by Speaker Sonny Belmonte and his gang of rapacious congressmen. It is to be joined by like-spirited senators. It is not a simple rape. It is multiple rape, violent and vicious. The victim: the Constitution.
The rapacious organ? The phrase: “unless otherwise provided by law,” inserted violently over and over again to kill the Constitution’s protection of the Filipino patrimony and its mandate to social justice.
in the spirit of sisterhood, i submit that our feminists could be right, deniece could be telling the truth. the conventional wisdom, after all, is that no woman would cry rape or attempted rape unless it were true, just because it gets hellish and horrible, like leaping from the frying pan into the fire. the merciless exposure. the bashing and name-calling. one’s morality, rather than the perpetrator’s, questioned. woman’s sexuality debated and exploited and debased.
the problem is, this is no straightforward rape-attempt story. this one is complicated by the brutal beating of the alleged perpetrator by the girl’s friends who allegedly caught vhong with his pants down. vhong denies this and it’s hard not to believe him after seeing the cctv footages. not too long after vhong arrived, deniece left the unit, looking perfectly fine and composed, and it was soon after that lee arrived (followed by his friends) and the beating commenced.
but okay, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. let’s say it’s possible that vhong was so horny he dropped his pants right away and tried to get into hers, and she fought back, maybe landed a kick in the groin, and she broke away, fixed herself, and walked calmly to the elevator, in that one-minute (maybe less?) timespan. medyo mahirap paniwalaan, medyo maliit yung window for benefit of the doubt. lalo na’t merong bugbugan blues, and you wonder if she was a willing accessory to the beating and alleged extortion.
but, yes, i suppose there is merit in suspending disbelief, not so much for the sake of deniece, but for the sake of the next rape victim who dares cry rape.
on social media some peeps are saying that too much time is being wasted on the vhong navarro story when there are so many other things going on that are more important to nation. katrina posted this status in response:
no, no. there is nothing stupid, or shallow, or wrong about discussing what truly happened to Vhong Navarro. this is a guy that a mass audience has been watching on TV from Monday to Saturday since 2009. he is someone whose becoming has happened on nationwide television, kicking it off with the Streetboys, and later on doing comedy like none of those other boys could. he has a hit song to his name, hit movies, too. kids watch this guy on TV every day and know of his icon to be about comedy, and wit, and dancing, and fun.
that he has come out looking the way he does is no joke. that the story is about concepts that are the total opposite of his public persona, that it is about rape, extortion, violence, revenge, blackmail, make it an even more important topic for discussion. because the mass audience that watches him on TV every day deserves a discussion about the image of this man they idolize, coming out on TV all black and blue and broken.
there is nothing stupid about this. neither is there reason to think this shallow and superficial. this might seem less important than politics and corruption and the economy (or whatever else), but it is important on the level of culture — and i don’t mean just Vhong as celebrity — but culture as ideology, as the way we engage with the world, and the way things unravel, publicly and otherwise.
this is not any more or any less important than other national issues at this point in time. it is equally important because it is about nation, and it is a discussion that we MUST have because this speaks of and about us. ignoring it would also mean missing the opportunity to engage in a discussion about violence and rape, regardless of whether the latter happened or not.
and really, more important things to discuss? whatever happened to multitasking?
my reaction, when i first saw vhong’s black-eyed and puffed-up face on tv, was consternation: such violence! the guys who beat him up must have been so angry, what’s the backstory? and then, again, maybe the guys were just high on some speedy drugs, and so, wala lang, trip lang?
now we have two quite different versions, one denying, the other alleging, a rape attempt. one alleging, the other denying, below-the-waist kababuyan. the strange thing is, the girl isn’t hiding her face, like the usual rape/attempt victim does, and she has a well-known businessman-cum-personal-body-guard (who admits beating up vhong) doing all the talking for her. very weird.
meanwhile, i hear the nbi finds merit in vhong’s case. i’m just glad that there was no knee-jerk response from women’s groups that are usually quick to scream rape! in support of alleged rape/attempt victims. good job, girls.
watching cnn‘s coverage of giant protests in egypt, take two, i was reminded of edsa dos, of course, and that the foreign press (and erap, too) called it “mob rule” back in 2001. no such words for the egypt action now, how kind. how careful? dealing with a different culture there, and none brings it home more clearly than this story: Gang rape, the dark side of Egypt’s protests by Nina Burleigh, Special to CNN. counting my blessings now.